Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing

Please note the Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing is located in Osage County in northeast Oklahoma, and is 4 hours east of Woodward, and 1.5 hours northwest of Tulsa

Greater Prairie-Chicken by John Kennington

We are very pleased to offer viewing of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Osage County, in northeastern Oklahoma, has some of the best populations of the Greater Prairie-Chicken in the country. We will be on or adjacent to the Nature Conservancy’s Tall Grass Prairie Preserve (TGPP).

Please Note: The last two years there were no leks accessible to blinds, and we viewed the birds from the van. If we do locate a lek we can access for blinds we will do so, but we cannot guarantee blind viewing.

We will gather in the town of Pawhuska at about 4:30 a.m. and take vans to view the birds. You will arrive at the lek, either in the van or in a blind, at about 5:30 am while it is still dark, but you will soon hear the otherworldly booming of the chickens in the morning twilight. You will stay in the blinds until the birds begin to disperse at about 9:00 am.

A few things to keep in mind if using a blind: Dress warmly, the temperatures can be around 40°F. You will be in the blinds for about 3 hours and cannot leave without disturbing the birds. Be prepared to sit quietly on a camp-type chair without access to a restroom. Young children will have trouble sitting quietly for that length of time, so the minimum age is 12 years. After leaving the blinds we’ll meet with the ranch owners for coffee and doughnuts.

A few things to keep in mind if using a blind: Dress warmly, the temperatures can be around 40°F. You will be in the blinds for about 3 hours and cannot leave without disturbing the birds. Be prepared to sit quietly on a camp-type chair without access to a restroom. Young children will have trouble sitting quietly for that length of time, so the minimum age is 12 years. After leaving the blinds we’ll spend the rest of the day birding on the TGPP until about 12:30m when we will have a catered lunch at the preserve headquarters. The vans will return to Pawhuska and you will then proceed on your own to Woodward (assuming you are partaking in other festival events).
Difficulty: 1
Please register early – We can only accommodate a maximum of 12 participants.

Logistics  Our suggested itinerary is to arrive in Pawhuska or Ponca City Tuesday afternoon and spend the night. Some lodging options in Pawhuska include the Black Gold Hotel, 918-287-3303, www.blackgoldmotel.com; the Economy Inn, 918-287-1110 ; and The Wah-Zha-Zhi House, 918-440-1209, www.wahzhazhihouse.com. Ponca City, about 30 minutes to the west of Pawhuska, offers a full range of hotels. You will then meet the group in Pawhuska early Wednesday morning for van transport to the blinds and afternoon birding. We will get you back to your vehicles by about 3:00 p.m. If you are attending the Photographer Workshop in Woodward on Thursday you will need to drive to Woodward, about 4 hours west, that evening. Otherwise you have all day Thursday to get to Woodward.

Important Note: As mentioned above, weather may make it impossible to reach the lek where we set up blinds. The trek still happened, and we will visit a lek visible from the road. We will make every effort to make blinds available, but cannot guarantee blind viewing (but can guarantee van viewing!)

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